Podcast: the Future of Wellness Bars with Guy Morley, Co-Founder of Upraising

Podcast: the Future of Wellness Bars with Guy Morley, Co-Founder of Upraising

Matt Morley, a wellbeing sustainability consultant at Biofilico Wellness Interiors specializing in real estate and hotels sits down with Guy Morley, the Co-Founder of Upraising for a Podcast about the evolving landscape of the health and wellness industry and the emergence of performance health bars.

The health and wellness industry is experiencing a transformative shift, with individuals increasingly prioritizing their overall well-being. As this shift extends to a quasi-biohacking approach, a new concept is emerging: the performance health bar. These wellness bars are designed to cater to diverse health needs, focusing on three key objectives:

  • Preparing clients for optimal performance
  • Maintaining their performance during activity
  • Promoting post-activity recovery.

To explore the future of wellness bars, Upraising's Co-Founder, Guy Morley, sits down to share his journey into the functional coffee market and sheds light on the growing trend of incorporating these ingredients into daily consumption.

This discussion delves into the motivations behind the functional coffee market, the benefits of adaptogens and nootropics, and the potential applications of these products in different settings. Guy also emphasizes the importance of high-quality ingredients and responsible sourcing practices, ensuring that Upraising delivers an exceptional product that positively impacts overall health.

Join us in exploring the future possibilities of wellness bars and the exciting developments in the functional health industry. Discover how these innovative concepts are reshaping the way we approach our well-being, inside and out.


Listen at Matt's Podcast with Guy Morley




Podcast Transcript



What was the opportunity here when launching Upraising? I've tried to set the scene but what attracted you to the functional coffee market in particular?


04:13.55 | Guy

So as you said in your introduction, nootropics, adaptogens and functional mushrooms are having their moment in the wellness sector, it's a huge growth area. I think the idea of mixing them with coffee comes originally from the US.

There's been a Finnish company doing it there for about 10 years while in Europe there was nothing similar.

So the idea behind Upraising was to have a look at what they were doing in the US and do version adapted to the European consumer market with organic coffee, fair trade coffee and functional mushrooms, adaptogens and... it's the right timing, we launched in November 2022.

05:04.95 | mattmorley

What do you think is behind this trend, I'm almost reluctant to use that word but clearly it is having a moment as you say.

We're seeing the products coming onto the market from my perspective I'm seeing F&B concepts adapted to this type of product coming onto the market, is this the start of a new wellness wave?


05:35.30 | Guy

food as functional medicine

It's definitely part of a much larger wellness movement I suppose of 'food as medicine' so people realizing that what they're eating and what they're doing is really impacting their health, so it's all a form of preventative medicine.

A growing awareness that medicine, just taking pills or undergoing surgery is more of a band-aid rather than a solution in the long-term.

So people are now becoming more aware. Trying to avoid illnesses completely and using food therefore as a source of their medicine.

This is a way of enhancing something that people drink I mean the vast majority of the population globally drink coffee and has its own health benefits already in its pure form, then we're making it even more beneficial for both mental and physical health.


06:26.80 | mattmorley

healthy mind healthy body

I'm reading book at the moment by Dr. Peter Atta called 'Outlive'. That's all about what he terms to be medicine '3.0' this is about looking into the future and trying to do everything possible now to help live a long and and healthy life.

I think there is a shift in in perception coming. So perhaps we need to dig a little deeper into some of this terminology And some of the ingredients. We've used those words 'adaptogens' and 'nootropics'. So let's start with them. What are their health benefits?


nootropics and adaptogens for wellbeing

07:16.47 | Guy

Yeah, so nootropics are basically ingredients that help boost and improve cognitive function and they can be natural. They don't have to be natural.

So for example, Adderall which people say is for ADHD is a nootropic, caffeine is one of the the most commonly used nootropics in nature because that boosts concentration.

functional mushrooms for mental wellness

So then we use only natural nootropics, things like Lion's Mane mushroom - a functional mushroom.

Everyone knows the psychedelic mushrooms with psilocybin, these are probably the level below that with no psilocybin present at all but they do have very strong properties that are beneficial to humans either physically or mentally.

Lion's Mane is good for mental focus and concentration. Ideal for a wellness bar concept in a coworking space or other workplace context in other words.

Adaptogens meanwhile are natural ingredients that are helpful for the body to relieve stress, so that could be mental or physical stress.

Reishi is a functional mushroom that helps balance cortisol levels which is also one of the reasons we mix it with coffee because coffee in some people when they get the jitters is because their cortisol levels are rising so reishi mixing ratio with the coffee will balance that out.


08:46.39 | mattmorley

benefits of biophilic design for a functional health bar setting

So there you get into some combination of both physical and also mental health benefits.. the parallel is interesting with wellness interiors and biophilic design.

Often we're looking at sense of vitality or a connection with nature, so a mood enhancing feeling less stressed, less anxious and just a little bit sharper, your concentration comes back, you feel restored, mental fatigue is alleviated.


functional drinks for a wellness bar menu concept

How did you start to slice up those distinct benefit concepts into a product range so that 1 is but perhaps offering something for cognitive while another is more about physical performance?


10:09.1 | Guy

So we started originally mixing it with coffee and that has various health benefits, I mean we use organic fair trade coffee with limited pesticides. But coffee is a good example of something that has multiple benefits - for concentration, as a mood booster, an increase in metabolism and even can help with weight loss and physical performance. It's also high in antioxidants.


improved gut health as a potential wellness bar benefit

We've just been speaking to a gut health expert in Norway who's a real advocate of coffee and says you have to drink 4.50 to 1 litres of coffee a day to get the proper the amount of polyphenols to boost your gut health.

So it started with that and then we wanted to improve it even further and we're thinking well when do people drink coffee? Typically it's in the morning, starting their day so they want to focus better.

They want to be more productive so we've got one coffee for that called Flow State. There's another one for those who want a mood boost - coffee is often a very social phenomenon, we go out to cafes or we have people around at our houses for coffee.

11:39.99 | Guy

improved sleep and recovery potential from wellness bar drinks

We've got one product that seems to be helping with sleep called Bright Mood and another product we're re-jigging at the moment called Live Well for immune boosting energy.

It will now evolve into more of a stamina and resilience offering, much more for people who were taking a coffee before a long cycle ride, run or surf session.

12:22.26 | mattmorley

possible locations for wellness bar concepts

So I think there's there clearly one case for this type of functional health bar being present in really any kind of physical performance center be that a tennis club, gym or fitness studio but particularly around competitive or team sports..

A class of yoga might require less in terms of the mental game although there's a lot of focus and concentration involve there around concentration.

In the process of doing a bit of research into these 'brain cafes' in the US they're becoming increasingly common in co-working spaces as well. Where clearly it's more about mental focus and cognitive performance.

Upraising target markets in the wellness industry

How have you developed your sales strategy? Is it health food stores or boutique gyms?

14:01.51 | Guy

It's been a very wide audience actually in terms of our business customers. I mean we've sold a lot into cafes and restaurants offering brunch for example, which is obviously a social setting so the Bright Mood version sells best there.

In a yoga studio it's Live Well and in a food deli where you would go and buy your nice cheeses and chocolates, all three versions sell pretty well.

So it's I wouldn't say we've been limited in where we can sell them. It's more which one sells better and which type of place it is.

Something we do need to work on that it's currently only ground coffee we use whereas most cafes use a whole bean and grind on site.

We think we figured out a way to add in our functional ingredients now and that will open up more business opportunities, gyms and so on.

15:02.46 | mattmorley

So if we think about the functional benefits that you could imagine Upraising doing and future product lines I wonder if that could perhaps give us clues about where else we might see the functional health bar concept emerging in future?

15:42.70 | Guy

stratification of the wellness bar ingredient market

I think that's probably where the future for functional health bars and wellness bars in a fitness context is going - more and more tailored. At the moment it's still in its infancy. So anything is considered good but slowly it will become more and more focused on exactly the benefits you're after.


17:02.70 | mattmorley

What about adjacent sectors that you might have your eye on, whether for the Upraising brand to go into or that you consider near neighbors in terms of functional health benefits. You mentioned gut health for example, there's obviously protein..


17:55.50 | Guy

Yeah I mean all of those things you mentioned are possibles. There are some limiting factors for us for example, probiotics we have to to use probiotics that are resistant to heat if we're going to put them in a hot drink.

This is in an industry with a lot of less credible products, if we can say it diplomatically, we want to focus on the best quality ingredients so we're speaking to the gut health specialist and looking at the cordyceps mushroom for the cardio respiratory system.

L-theanine wellness benefits

But unlike other brands we are not tied to mushrooms so we can use other nootropics and adaptogens for example L-theanine is a good one that helps cognition that we take from green tea.

So for the first year we'd stick with hot drinks then I think things like protein powders, chocolates and so on could come into play later.

19:56.60 | mattmorley

It's almost as if one can see the next wave coming on the horizon right? I think that could be around concepts that perhaps for now feel quite 'out there' on the verge of acceptability in terms of both societal perception and Legality but you know micro-dosing is an obvious one. You're seeing brands like Earth Resonance now seemingly selling 30-day packs of Microdose Psilocybin mushrooms online in the Netherlands.

sourcing high quality ingredients for health bar coffee, tea and juice blends


We've always used the best quality products and we're very open about where we get our coffee from, where we get our mushrooms from (Scandinavia rather than China where they can have issues with contamination and heavy metals).

And also things like labor laws in Scandinavia are much higher standard so you might be buying an organic mushroom in China but if it's been produced in a farm where people are working 18 hours a day in harsh conditions you're not particularly helping the world improve.

So we've been very careful about the products we've used in terms of communicating what they are and what they do, it's the responsibility of being a first mover in a space like this basically.

I think as we go on we will provide ever more information about the research studies that are done for example on L-theanine mixed with coffee. There's a study that that shows that it prolongs kind of concentration and avoids dips.


the functional performance drinks niche


When you look down the pipeline say 5 years into the future around this niche of functional performance drinks and the type of hospitality concept that they're best suited to, how do you see this sector evolving?


It can go very far but I think there will be more obvious differentiation between more mainstream companies while others will become more specialist, focusing on the origin of heir ingredients and so on. synthetic versions of these ingredients just isn't the same, it's an inferior product.

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